Race

When she stepped out of the Waterworks Theater Thursday afternoon, Pittsburgh Student Achievement Center 8th grader Denay Clemons called the movie Selma “an awesome portrayal.”

Denay was among approximately five hundred students from several Pittsburgh schools who were taken to see the movie about the marches in Alabama that preceded the 1965 Voting Rights Act.

“I only knew a little bit from school work and history but I learned a lot more about what happened actually like with conversation with the people who actually led the movement,” Denay said.

Sarah Schneider / 90.5 WESA

A high school history teacher at Ellis School in Shadyside is showing his 11th grade students the evolution of racial attitudes in America by exploring how common items have had different meanings for black and white people.

Students speak in the first person and personify one item a week including a typewriter, bus ticket, acoustic guitar, police baton and a flapper dress.

Liz Reid / 90.5 WESA

“We try to be useful.”

That’s what University of Pittsburgh School of Social Work Dean Larry Davis told a group assembled to hear details of a new report on racial disparity from the Center on Race and Social Problems. Davis said he hopes the data coming out of the report will be used to craft policies and programs to reduce racial disparities in education, economics, health care and other areas.

NPR Journalist Michele Norris Talks Race in America

Sep 26, 2014
Michele Norris / Shoxclix

When award-winning NPR journalist and former All Things Considered c0-host Michele Norris released her first book "The Grace of Silence: A Memoir" in 2010, it was the beginning of a unique national conversation on race. 

On October 1st, Norris comes to Pittsburgh to give a talk entitled "Eavesdropping on America's Conversation on Race," a part of the Carnegie Museum of Natural History exhibition, "Race: Are We So Different?" She talks with us about how far we've come with that conversation on race.

Does the City's High Self-Esteem Create New Problems?

Sep 10, 2014
Flickr user jmd41280

There’s no doubting Pittsburghers take pride in their city. However, can that civic pride result in turning a blind eye to ongoing issues such as race, transportation and poverty? We pose that question to Joe Wos, executive director of the Toonseum and Chris Potter, editor of the Pittsburgh City Paper.

Read the City Paper article that inspired this segment.

Voices from the Firing Line: Jim Crowe Customs in Pittsburgh

Jun 17, 2014
National Archives Foundation

Community County of Allegheny County Professor Ralph Proctor has just released his latest book Voices from the Firing Line: A Personal Account of the Pittsburgh Civil Rights Movement.

Written as a personal narrative, the book discusses demonstrations and the methodology of those in the movement, as well as the results they achieved. Proctor said he remembers a segregated Pittsburgh, even though he was far away from the Jim Crowe laws of the south.

Carnegie Museum of Natural History

Race: Are We So Different? is one of the current exhibits at the Carnegie Museum of Natural History. The touring exhibition examines the history of how race has been defined and its impact on our lives.

Cecile Shellman, communications and community specialist for the Carnegie Museum of Natural History, said the exhibit’s long term goal is to be an “awareness building campaign, and to stamp out racism.”

“It’s just a taboo subject for some people," Shellman said. 

"Some people may lack the skills or the interest or the vocabulary or the courage to talk about race. And this exhibition really does invite people in overt and unconscious ways to talk about race. I think across the board, all of the other venues and here at the museum, we realize we’re actually helping people by encouraging that openness.”

NYU School of Social Work

In the new book, Stuck in Place: Urban Neighborhoods and the End of Progress Toward Racial Equality, Dr. Patrick Sharkey, an associate professor of sociology at New York University, explores what he calls some of the most persistent forms of racial inequality.

From gaps in income to academic test scores, he looks at race and neighborhoods over multiple generations.

US Marines / Wikipedia

Greensburg native, William Severini Kowinski was 17 years old when he participated in the March on Washington for Jobs & Freedom on August 28th, 1963. He had been campaigning for John F. Kennedy since the age of 15 and was inspired by Kennedy’s views on the civil rights struggle.

Kowinski went by train with a group called the Catholic Interracial Council. It was only his second train ride and his most vivid memory of the ride involved a train car packed with young people.

The University of Pittsburgh’s Center on Race and Social Problems hosted a program Wednesday called “A Call to Conscience:  Effective Policies and Practices in Educating African American Males.”

The keynote speaker was John Jackson, president and CEO of the Schott Foundation for Public Education in Cambridge, Mass., who said research is clear that races are 99.6 percent the same genetically, so differences in educational performance must be caused by social policies and practices.

Researchers and scholars from across the U.S. are gathering in Pittsburgh to create a network devoted to studying the issues of race and poverty.

About 30 directors of academic centers and institutions on race, ethnicity and poverty throughout the country will be attending the summit hosted by the University of Pittsburgh to begin Thursday and Friday in an effort to start dialogue and create possible collaborations between institutions aimed at battling social issues.